Oman Said to Invite Banks to Arrange Potential Dollar Bond

  • Sultanate has sent request for proposals to interested banks
  • They have until this week to respond to the invitation

Oman is preparing an international bond sale, two people with knowledge of the deal said, as the country seeks to plug a budget deficit caused by low oil prices.

The sultanate has sent invitations to banks to arrange the sale of a dollar or Islamic bond, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Responses are due this week, they said. An official at the central bank said last month that Oman is planning to raise up to $2 billion through bond sales this year.

A fresh sale would be the latest in a series of issues by the non-OPEC oil-producing state. The sultanate sold $2.5 billion worth of bonds in June last year in its first such sale since 1997 and tapped the bonds for an additional $1.5 billion in September. It was reported to have raised $1 billion from the international loan market last January and will get 600 million rials from local debt in 2017.

Oman, rated one level above junk by S&P Global Ratings, is among governments across the six-nation Gulf Corporation Council looking to international investors to mitigate the financial dent from cheap crude. Saudi Arabia will raise as much as 450 billion riyals ($120 billion) by 2020 to cover its own budget deficit.

Oman is also seeking to reduce expenditure and from this month will impose new tariffs on its biggest electricity consumers. The state’s budget deficit is estimated by the International Monetary Fund to narrow to 10.3 percent of gross domestic product this year, from 13.5 percent in 2016.

Calls to Oman’s Ministry of Finance weren’t returned.

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